Railroads and american economic growth essays in economic history
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R obert Fogel was corecipient with Douglass C. He earned his Ph. His interest, early on, was in understanding the factors that contribute to economic growth. Because of his training from Stigler and Kuznets, he was empirically inclined.
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Railroads and American Economic Growth: A "Market Access" Approach | NBER
This paper examines the historical impact of railroads on the American economy. Expansion of the railroad network may have affected all counties directly or indirectly - an econometric challenge that arises in many empirical settings. However, the total impact on each county is captured by changes in that county's "market access," a reduced-form expression derived from general equilibrium trade theory. We measure counties' market access by constructing a network database of railroads and waterways and calculating lowest-cost county-to-county freight routes. As the railroad network expanded from to , changes in market access were capitalized into county agricultural land values with an estimated elasticity of 1.
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Transport Innovation and Economic Growth: Professor Fogel on and off the Rails
The railroads were the key to economic growth in the second half of the nineteenth century. Besides making it possible to ship agricultural and manufactured goods throughout the country cheaply and efficiently, they directly contributed to the development of other industries. The railroads were the largest single market for steel, which went into their locomotives and track, and they relied on coal as their principal fuel. Because of their size and complexity, the railroads pioneered new management techniques such as the separation of finance and accounting from operating functions and the development of the first organizational charts that clearly showed the chain of command and responsibility.
As of his death, he was the Charles R. He is best known as an advocate of new economic history cliometrics — the use of quantitative methods in history. His brother, six years his senior, was his main intellectual influence in his youth as he listened to him and his college friends intensely discuss social and economic issues of the Great Depression. After graduation in , he became a professional organizer for the Communist Party.